Good News on the Pipeline Proposal

It appears that the strong public reaction to Dominion's pipeline proposal and possibly other technical factors have prompted Dominion to rescind their request to use the ATT rail corridor for a new pipeline connector. NCDOT announced on June 2:
"The N.C. Department of Transportation learned yesterday that Dominion Energy has rescinded the request to utilize NCDOT right of way along the American Tobacco Trail for a pipeline. For additional information about Dominion Energy’s proposed pipeline, please contact Persida Montanez with Dominion Energy communications at Persida.montanez@dominionenergy.com. "
Cary and Durham have been notified that Dominion will be evaluating other alignments over the next 60 days. After that is completed some form of public engagement will be scheduled.

Info on Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline on the ATT

Just over a week ago I was made aware that North Carolina's DOT has been working with Dominion Energy to allow the construction of a 12" diameter gas line using a portion of the ATT corridor from Morrisville Parkway to Scott King Road. This would be from ~mile post 16.2 to mile post 10, or about 6 miles. Dominion Energy has now received an easement on NC Rail Division right-of-way along the American Tobacco Trail. This was granted at a May 7th meeting of the North Carolina Board of Transportation. Dominion has not submitted any final plans and still needs to acquire all necessary permits, including one from the Army Corps of Engineers, which will include a public engagement process. Dominion has prepared a descriptive PDF of the project (as of March 2019). See the ATT Group Facebook page for a link to this file.
A construction start date and schedule has not been determined. Dominion has indicated they would like to break ground by September 2020. Permits from the City of Durham, the Town of Cary, the US Army Corps of Engineers and NC DEQ must be obtained first. These permits should specify conditions to minimize the environmental impact and how temporary closures or re-routes should be done. Slides in the project PDF indicate they plan to use property at the outside edge of the corridor and try to retain some portion of the existing trees closest to the trail.

As of May 24th, it is not too late to express your concerns on this. To be clear, the right of way has not been sold, the NC Board of Transportation only authorized DOT to provide a right of way easement. This was a necessary step in the process but Dominion must obtain numerous permits before the deal is done. DOT let it be known on May 22 they are reviewing what has been done to date by “executive leadership”. Dominion has indicated they are now planning to gather input from trail stakeholders in the next 6 to 8 weeks. The info our group and others have put out seems to be activating large #s of trail users and officials in Durham, Cary and Wake County to push back on why this route was selected as the best alternative and to demand that public input be set up for trail stakeholders. At this point the best source of digital info on this issue is the ATT Group Facebook page. Anyone can request membership. If you scan through the numerous posts you will see links to the emails at NCDOT. In addition your comments to City or town council representatives will be helpful as they begin their inquiries. Perhaps the best overall summary of the situation is the article by Lisa Sorg in NC Policy Watch. Stay tuned, there may be a time when petitions and other input may be useful. Feel free to pass this info along to other trail users you may know.

TRTC Now Enrolled in AmazonSmile Program

Users at Pittard Sears fountain

We were recently added to the AmazonSmile program. Under this program Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Triangle Rails to Trails whenever you connect to Amazon by clicking here or on the icon on the lower left portion of this page. You can bookmark this link in your browser(s) for use in future purchases. We'll be using the proceeds from this program for routine expenses such as the water bills and annual maintenance on the water fountain at Pittard Sears and for the liability insurance we carry to cover volunteers participating in our workdays.

Rails to Trails: The Time is Now

Utilizing railroads for mass transit systems may become necessary in the next century. Why not preserve the existing railroad corridors and avoid condemnation of private land for government projects? Once preserved, why not use these relatively flat, straight corridors for alternate transportation through bicycle commuting and recreational trails? These are not unique or radical ideas. Rail-trails efforts are active and successful throughout the country. Currently, the TRTC is actively seeking volunteers and contributions. If you would like to help, or you want to know more, please join us today by completing a membership form or joining us in workdays with Friends of the ATT.

This view of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) shows folks enjoying an early Fall afternoon on the trail in downtown Durham. (Photo from Nancy Pierce Photo.com)

Workday at Eagle Spur Trail--October 18th

Steve Lund is leading a workday on the Eagle Spur Trail, Sunday October 18th at 9:00 a.m. It's a concrete mixing and pouring party to anchor the first drainage culvert in position. Volunteers should plan to be out there for about 4 hours. We'll meet at the Colvard subdivision (on the west side of NC 751 in southern Durham County).
Steve's goals for this workday are:
1. Get the collars on culvert #2 poured.
2. Begin backfilling culvert #2 with locally obtained dirt. Please bring a shovel if you can.
Optional work if we have sufficient turnout:
1. Cut up and clear trees and logs from the trail.
2. Pick up and remove trash.
If interested, send an email to info@triangletrails.org
The Eagle Spur is the original 1905 routing of today's ATT (before Jordan Lake was filled).

Upcoming Workday on Eagle Spur Trail

Eagle Spur Trail Workday, Saturday March 7th, 9:00 a.m. Steve Lund will lead a crew of volunteers to: 1. Cut up and remove logs and debris from the trail. 2. Pick up and remove trash. 3. Haul in Sakrete for the culvert project. 4. Remove any fallen trees from the corridor. To sign up, contact Steve: slund348@gmail.com. Steve will get back to you on meeting point, parking and other details. The Eagle Spur is an abandoned rail corridor in south Durham / north Chatham that leads from Stagecoach Rd to Jordan Lake. See our map

Follow-up: Our workday was a success, over 25 trash bags filled and a dozen trees cut up and removed. Weather permitting, we may do one more workday this Spring. If you think you may want to help out at upcoming Eagle Spur workdays please email Steve Lund at slund348@gmail.com .

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